Benicio Del Toro is in very early discussions to play a villainous role in Star Wars: Episode VIII, according to The Wrap. No other details were reported, and no official confirmation has been made.
Rian Johnson was first reported as writer/director back in June 2014, and since then we have heard very little. That’s not surprising since it’s the followup to J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which itself has been wrapped in secrecy. Even though Johnson will be working within a well-defined cinematic universe, we’re trusting that his distinctive sensibilities — as evidenced in time-travel action picture Looper, for example — will shine through, and that includes the role of the villain.
Del Toro would certainly be a great choice. His career dates back to the late 1980s, and one of his early roles was a villainous henchman in the James Bond adventure License to Kill (above left) He has swayed back and forth between playing villains and good guys; he stood out in The Usual Suspects and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas before earning an Academy Award (above right) for his performance as a Mexican cop in Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic.
Last year the actor appeared briefly in a small role in the smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy (top). We’ll have to wait a little longer to see if he’ll be joining another science-fiction epic. He’s certainly not hurting for attention; he’s already receiving advance acclaim for his performance in drug drama Sicario, which is due out in September.
Filming on the eighth installment of Star Wars is expected to begin early next year; the movie is set for release on May 26, 2017.